The Times-Picayune reported last week that an oil
worker who survived the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon,
that killed 11 people and started a disastrous oil leak in the Gulf of
Mexico, said a key safety measure was not being implemented on the rig.
Lawyer Scott Bickford said his client claims a column of mud was
being removed from an exploratory well before it was sealed with a top
cement cap -- a move he described as "human error" that may have in turn
failed to prevent the deadly explosion.
A statement from cement contractor Halliburton, reported by the New
Orleans newspaper, confirmed the top cap was not installed. The column
of heavy mud is one of the core defenses relied upon by drillers to
So they cut corners to get the job done quickly. Here's a question.
Have you ever worked in a place where the bigwhigs were coming to town
and you had to quickly get everything ready for them?
Remember that there were six senior British Petroleum executives on
the oil rig at the time of the explosion, celebrating a recent safety
award the company had gotten. Getting senior executives out to an oil
rig all at the same time is something that requires some coordinating
What if the drillers and Halliburton were told that the executives
were going to be there on April 20th for the party, and therefore they
had to hurry to get the job done? And therefore they skipped the
time-consuming step of putting the mud plug in and went straight to the
cementing process, apparently the fatal mistake that let the giant
methane bubble rush up and explode the rig?
Was this entire disaster the result of a hurry-hurry-up because the
big shots were flying out by helicopter and the riggers had to get
things done "stat"? Who were these six executives? How far out was their
Did Halliburton and Transocean cut corners because they were either
explicitly told to by BP or implicitly pressured to by BP because the
executives were on their way out for the party?
And why is nobody talking about who these executives were, and
nobody is telling the life and family stories of the eleven workers who
died in the rig explosion?
Inquiring minds want to know.
Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. www.thomhartmann.com His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)